Loverro: The time an 'inebriated' Robert Fick came after me

Chris Lingebach
June 18, 2018 - 2:23 pm

Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Ted Lerner ceding control of the Washington Nationals to his son, Mark, got Thom Loverro's wheels turning last week about the past.

On with Chad Dukes of 106.7 The Fan on Thursday, Loverro thought back to one especially tense moment in the early years of the Nats organization, involving veteran first baseman Robert Fick.

"It reminded me of the first Dream Foundation Gala in 2007," Loverro recalled. "It was before the season started. It was in the end of March of 2007. The Lerners had just bought the team about six months earlier, and so this was their first one. It was at the Mandarin Hotel and I went to it."

"The players go to this thing," he continued. "And Robert Fick was playing for the team then. He played first base, he was a backup catcher, things like that -- a real wild man. And he did not like me, more than any other player I've ever had. Because he didn't like a column I wrote, that they posted on the wall in the locker room in 2006, where I called them the 'Washington Misfits.'

"And basically, he screamed at me in the locker room once in 2006."

"How'd that go," Dukes inquired.

"I mean, I've been screamed at before," Loverro said. "It's no big deal."

"Do you scream back in the locker room?" asked Dukes.

"No. No. No. I let them have their say," he said. "I had my say in the paper. That was my say. Let them have their say. As long as they don't touch me, they can scream at me all they want. And he did the same thing at spring training that year. He yelled out in the locker room, 'Don't talk to this guy! He makes stuff up!' Now, I knew that the guys who I needed to talk to wouldn't pay attention to him because he was a goofball. I mean, nobody particularly respected him in the locker room and no one took him seriously, so I wasn't too worried about it."

"So at the Dream Foundation Gala that night, Robert Fick, like he was most of the time when he took the field, was inebriated," Loverro retold. "Except he was very inebriated for this event."

Of course, 'inebriated' isn't necessarily exclusive to alcohol, as Loverro later noted to me.

"And at one point in this ballroom, which was pretty empty at this point, I'm sitting over in the corner on a chair, sort of by myself," Loverro went on. "And like, I don't know, maybe 50 feet away, Fick comes out of the bathroom and he was wearing a tux. Except he's got the tux half-off. So he's bare-chested with his clothes half-off.

"And there's a couple of Nats players trying to catch up to him. And he sees me, and I see him, and he starts making a beeline for me. And he's running for me, and Felipe Lopez tackles him while he's screaming. This guy's screaming at me. He's gonna kill me. He's gonna do this. He's gonna do that. And then nothing happened after that. The players, they got him under control and all that."

"Did you guys both stick around the party?" Dukes asked.

"Oh, I stuck around, yeah," Loverro said. "I don't know what he did. They may have gotten him out of there by then. The next morning, the Nats had an off-day workout at RFK Stadium. (Then-team president) Stan Kasten and (then-GM) Jim Bowden pull me aside and take me in the tunnel, and basically spend 20 minutes begging me not to write anything about what happened the night before."

All these years later, Loverro felt no compunction about speaking honestly of Fick, the person or player.

"Really bad guy, in so many ways," he said. "Never played a game sober. Not one game sober."

"He had always a slight level of inebriation," he explained. "I mean, when he was drinking that coffee, it had all kinds of stuff in it before the game. So they spent all this time trying talk me out of writing something, and I wound up not writing anything because I didn't want it to be about me. If it really did impact me, it would have been a column about what he did to me. But I remember to both of them, I said, 'Look. Just keep him away from me all year. I don't have to talk to him. He doesn't have to talk to me.' Because they said he was going to come apologize. I said, 'I don't want him to come apologize to me. Just tell him to stay away from me.'

"So that was my story about Robert Fick. He wanted to kill me and almost did one night at the first gala."

Loverro went on to accuse former National Dmitri Young, in 2007, of faking an injury, in order to get Fick more playing time and better Fick's chances of returning to the club the following season.

"His buddy was Dmitri Young," Loverro said. "And at the end of the 2007 season, where Dmitri Young had been signed in spring training and had a great year that year, and knew he was having a great year and knew he was going to get paid, which is a whole other story. Come the beginning of September, he faked an injury because he knew Fick would get his playing time at first base. Because he wanted his buddy Fick to get his playing time, so the Nats would re-sign him the next year in 2008."

2007 would be Fick's last big-league season. He finished the year hitting .234 with two home runs, six doubles and one triple in 118 games.

"They had a motorcycle gang for a team," Loverro said. "And that was when they actually won 73 games that year, when people thought they were only going to win 40. But I mean, Bowden, it was like Boys Town. He'd bring in any reprobate he could find. I can't believe Sidney Ponson never pitched for the Washington Nationals."

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